The Midnight Talk Tour and Reveal New Single – America Online
Tim McEwan and Tyler Lyle, the Synthpop wonder duo behind The Midnight, made their 5th U.S. tour stop (Their 40th show ever) this past Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio. They played to a nearly at-capacity venue. Very impressive when you realize it was a weekday and
Tim McEwan and Tyler Lyle, the Synthpop wonder duo behind The Midnight, made their 5th U.S. tour stop (Their 40th show ever) this past Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio. They played to a nearly at-capacity venue. Very impressive when you realize it was a weekday and their first time playing Columbus.
The show itself was fantastic – from the opener Violet Days amazing, punchy synthwork to the mesmerizing light show courtesy Cory Mattonen, to the audience singing along right up until the final shimmering track, it was truly a don’t – miss experience.
Hours before, as Lito Hernandez’s sax pealed in the background for soundcheck, I had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with McEwan and Lyle for an interview. Before our time was up, they revealed the name of their upcoming single and teased a new album!
The pair spoke first about how astounded they’ve been from the audience reception they’ve received, in the U.S. and in Europe.
“I would say we’re used to playing to the states – and when we got to Europe we didn’t know how they were going to react. I would say though, when we got to Europe that had even more of a hardcore reaction. It was really great to see the energy levels there.” McEwan said. “When we announced the European tour last year – off the bat the sales were really great, much stronger than we expected. We actually needed up upgrading a lot of the shows to bigger rooms in Europe.”
“I was really surprised by Baltimore last night. We were pleasantly surprised by Seattle and Denver. I would say that the variations were much more pronounced in Europe. Spanish audiences were NUTS, they were all for it.” Lyle said through a laugh.
Both of them related that the tour had been going well, and the support from their touring staff was indispensable. Believe it or not they’re travelling by van – something they said they’ll have to upgrade soon.
“Our poor Tour Manager, Chris Paules, I think it’ll be his last time driving. He wears about 5 different hats and I think we’ve broken him now.” Lyle chuckled. Our merch staff Minaz Rayani has been driving too.”
McEwan explained, “It’s all hands on deck. We’re still kind of in the early days. We didn’t know how many people were going to show up to these shows – we’re doing a lot of first-time markets…. We’re very lucky to be working with a great group of people, management team, booking agents, our tour manager – they’re very good at what they do, much better than we are at what we do. It makes for an infrastructure that we can trust in. We can just show up and play, which is an incredible luxury.”
After the tour talk we got down to the music. McEwan and Lyle explained a bit behind why they were drawn to the synthwave sound.
“I’ve always been drawn to the bittersweet, nostalgic, uplifting but slightly melancholic chord progressions. I grew up with 80’s music so the aesthetic was kind of natural to me. It was liking finding something you knew you could go all out with – where it was okay to just be over the top.” McEwan said.
Lyle picked up, “My songwriting comes from a more narrative country Nashville pop writing sensibilities and it was my writing exercise to write images. With the synth sound – the aesthetic is so specific the images are kind of already there, you just put them in the right place.”
They also explained that they don’t want to be placed in a genre box, and that they still plan on expanding their sound.
“We’re trying to connect with people.” Lyle said in a point blank fashion. “This is a human connection business…we’re artists but we’re here for mutual healing. The strict genre boundaries or the narcissism of small genre differences aren’t important. Splicing up the definition of genre that’s 5 years old is – It’s a palette of colors, not a box. We’re still trying to find the corners of the room.”
After, we spoke about the “Kids” album. Some fans had related they thought it was a bit short, and I asked if it was originally intended to be an EP. This is when they revealed some awesome news – “Kids” may end up being party of a trilogy.
“We had some tracks that just didn’t fit, and we thought …this is thematically maybe the next step of where we go from “Kids,” so maybe it makes sense to save these tracks for the next one and that’s when we realized, “Oh, this could be a three-parter!” McEwan said with a sly smile.
Lyle continued. “As of now, it’s a trilogy. Everything is open to change. But we have a lot of songs written, and a direction we’re going in so… yeah.”
As we wrapped up our interview, the pair looked at each other and McEwan took a serious tone.
“Should we tell him?” – “Sure, why not” came Lyle’s reply. Then they further revealed the first single from an unnamed album is coming soon – that single is called “America Online.”
“We teased that there might be a new single, but we did it on April 1st….” McEwan laughed. “We wanted to give it a few days to kind of confirm it, because people were going “I can’t tell if this is a joke or not!” and we were like ….’Excellent’” he said, doing his best Simpon’s Smithers impersonation before continuing.
“Basically, it’s going to be the first single from the next chapter, it’s more of an instrumental feel, It’s a thesis of the next album. It speaks to the disconnectedness and sort of the loneliness of… let’s say we’ve moved into the internet age from “Kids.” It’s sort of modem sounds and that kind of thing. The track is called “America Online.”
Lyle perked up. “As a kid you’re sort of [disconnected] from the world… But when you’re in your teenage years, everything is sort of inner-conflict, relationships, all happening at once. The tensions of romantic love, acceptance in groups and things like that.”
McEwen closed with a brief description.
“…it’s not a sunset right? It’s more of a sort of blog track. I love going on vaporwave track playlists on youtube. I love the low-grade, low-fi, bitcrushed sound – it’s like that but with a bit more of a cleaner palette, a cleaner mix. So, that one will set the tone. Tyler is definitely on it, but in a bit more of a…vocodery way,” he chuckled.